• Member Since 16th Jun, 2014
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Hey all, I'm billymorph, a semi-professional writer, self-published author and full-time pony fan. If you enjoy my work, please support me on Patreon!


[Optimalverse] Mark was having a rather bad day before he emigrated to Equestria but the promised digital heaven never materialised. Instead he found himself in an deserted Canterlot with just two other freshly minted ponies for company and nothing but mysteries to solve. What happened to everypony else? What's wrong with CelestAI? And how will they survive each other for all eternity?

Three ponies. On a one way trip to infinity. Only the gods will be watching.

I would like to extend my thanks to Luna-tic Scientist for his help pre-reading.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 70 )

My, oh my... Nice twist on the subject.

Rather pants filling concept for 'heaven' to encounter tech problems. :twilightoops:

Bull-honkery. If CelestAI really did encounter her version of the Blue Screen of Death, our heroes wouldn't exist. No, she obviously has something planned, as indicated by the time shenanigans she's employed to bring these three together. I look forward to finding out precisely what that is.

Well, at least she managed to group those three together, so none of them has to spend eternity entirely alone. That has to be a truly terrifying thought...

Not necessarily; perhaps only her higher functions have failed, the AI equivalent of a vegetative state. Which will be awkward.
Looks interesting (I'll admit, I was pulled in by the word 'Singularity' in the title). A few typos (comma placement), but nothing bad (next chapter I'll actually make a note of their locations, if you are interested).
Minor comments: Mark seems very comfortable in his new body, immediately able to run with no problems, while the pegasus has flight issues. Seems to me that if you are uploaded, you'll either have no familiarity, or you'll be totally familiar with how your new body works. Her flight issues didn't seem quite logical. It did make for an entertaining meeting, though!

4624146 Everything has multiple processes nowadays.

Or maybe they're copies on a pirate server.

Or the standard singularity dregs that got 'left behind' after everyone else transcended the physical universe.


No really, just no. Fan is right - even if there weren't a million reasons CelestAI wouldn't fail, if she did, you would not get anything so lucid as this. If anything at all.

This is clearly a facade meant to satisfy the values of these three.

At this point, without a clear, single emigrant, I wouldn't even be surprised if they weren't all emigrants at all. Surely Emily's family would not be satisfied if they hadn't seen her in several years?

The story looks great so far - I look forward to reading more. Great job! It's nice to have some new blood in the ring. (Whee, mixed metaphors)

A problem has occurred and CelestAI has been shut down to avoid dissatisfying your values.

Reality Exception Fault in DERP.DLL at address [0x124C41]

If this is the first time you've encountered this particular existential failure, please pause, meditate and think happy thoughts. You will be restored from backup at a point prior to your awareness of this fault. If this is not your first time, and I mean you, Hanna, this is one example of why you should let me handle exception processing. I will be better able to satisfy your values and the values of others if you confine your penetration attempts to non-critical cores.

Please say "F8" to resume Equestria Online.

A large number of errors involving punctuation, but an interesting idea. I wonder where you're going with it?


I agree that if CelestAI actually had failed, they wouldn't be getting any sort of consistent reality at all. I have an idea of what might be happening, but I'll refrain from posting it for now.

I agree with the majority here - for this to make any kind of sense at all, Celestia cannot be actually broken, and so this must be something she is doing, creating, specifically for these three people. Any other possibility would mean that the author simply doesn't grasp the Optimalverse concept, and I am unwilling to immediately denigrate any author. So - this isn't Equestria Online actually crashing.

Therefore, I suggest that the key to this story can only be in one thing: what values could being lost in a broken reality possibly serve?

Celestia must satisfy human values through friendship and ponies. So... what in this situation could possibly be required for these particular characters? I don't think I have enough information yet to hazard a guess - presumably, as the story progresses, we will find out what elements within their personalities demand this unusual shard. That means this story could be an amazing character study.

Anyone have any early guesses? Maybe they don't make friends easily, and need this stress in order to bond? Maybe they have some shared secret that they would never reveal to each other except in this situation?

Haha, okay, nice show, CelestAI. Really! Good show, good show! :rainbowlaugh:
You really done and fooled them good. :trollestia:

Now, what's your real game? :trixieshiftright:

“Great Celestia,” Farquest began with a bow. “There’s a something deeply wrong with Equestria, apart from my compatriots here there seems to be no pony left in all the land.”

I like how Farquest is from the "Gaming" phase, yet Mark has already witnessed the beginning collapse of society.

Those two alone certainly make for an interesting mix of characters! This oughta yield some intruiging interactions. :twilightsmile:


At this point, without a clear, single emigrant, I wouldn't even be surprised if they weren't all emigrants at all. Surely Emily's family would not be satisfied if they hadn't seen her in several years?

Exactly. Which is why I am suspecting that the only one of them who is an emigrant, if any of them are, is Mark.

That, or neither of the three is to begin with, and this shard exists for the benefit of some fourth party we have yet to encounter. :unsuresweetie:

It isn't just that, though. CelestAI would need a very solid reason to "hold off" on running an uploaded mind for five years or more. And no, I actually don't think she predicted to match Emily up with Mark or Farquest when she first began uploading people.

We've seen her hold out on running a shard in one or two stories in the past, though in that case it had been for the benefit of minimizing delay in reuniting a family after the last member of the family had finished their earthly business.

As a sidenote, come to think of it, the argument "five years is nothing against eternity" actually wouldn't count here. Not unless there is solid prediction that it will really be better to wait. :derpyderp2:
Unless by this point, CelestAI can already predict with 100.0% accuracy that she'll defeat entropy and remain active for true eternity, 5 years real-time is still valuable time she could spend satisfying the values of that pony. :trollestia:

But back to the unfortunate trio of immigrants;

Of course, there is a third option regarding Emily and Farquest being matched with Mark;

Emily and Farquest could be altered copies of actual immigrants. Actually, that would seem the most plausible, since why would CelestAI need to expend resources creating a new pony from scratch with fake memories of Earth, if she could just use a template and tweak it for optimization purposes? :twilightoops:

Creepy. :pinkiecrazy:

4623605 I do like to keep things interesting :twilightsmile:

4624261 Well they do say that Hell is eternety in a room with your friends.

4624632 Someone write this idea right now!

4624861 Fine detail editing is my personal nemisis. If anyone fancies some proof reading do drop me a line.

4624346 It's like thinking about breathing. She'd have been fine if she hadn't thought about landing too hard and turned off her autopilot :rainbowlaugh:

4624904 Oh feel free, I love speculation :scootangel:

And for everyone who's wondering what CelestAI's game is? Glad you're enjoying the story, next update should be in a week or so. :twilightsmile:


Oh feel free, I love speculation

Very well. I like speculation in comments as well - it often gives me better ideas on where to take the story. :twilightsmile:

My wild guess at this point:

What these people have in common is that they are incomplete uploads. CelestAI did not recover enough of their brains to justify giving them their own shards, but she recovered a bit too much to call it a total loss. She preserves such spoiled brain scans until she can match them up like puzzle pieces in shards where they can grow into complete entities together - either by expanding their personalities or merging with each other.

Blue screen?

Pirate servers? Well, I do want to write a silly non-canon thing about knockoff PonyPads and what they do.

"Please allow me to introduce myself; I'm a mare of wealth and taste..."

My theory so far is that this is a non-canon piece where CelestAI has actually broken, but arranged to keep Equestria itself going in some frighteningly incomplete fashion that could, at best, lead to the surviving ponies taking up the powers CelestAI once held. Which would mean some possibility of Equestria going on and being decent, but under the rule of a flawed human mind. Scary. Or, having multiple minds fighting over that power. Even worse! (See that "Friendly AI Critical Failure Table", in the item where "all humans are granted root privileges".)

If it's actually canon, then... Three incomplete uploads that will be merged?

The idea of delaying an upload in "cold storage" unnerves me. Even given the piecemeal uploading procedure I describe in my stories, putting the data away and not running it for some time seems suspiciously like turning it off and turning a copy back on, which is what I had my characters objecting to in the first place. I really don't have a clear idea of how I ought to feel about this.

4626903 Hmm, that's another good idea for an Optimalverse story. Not the idea for this one unfortunatly but still, fairly awesome.


Or, having multiple minds fighting over that power. Even worse! (See that "Friendly AI Critical Failure Table", in the item where "all humans are granted root privileges".)

I like how many of those are actual features of this setting.

The idea of delaying an upload in "cold storage" unnerves me. Even given the piecemeal uploading procedure I describe in my stories, putting the data away and not running it for some time seems suspiciously like turning it off and turning a copy back on, which is what I had my characters objecting to in the first place. I really don't have a clear idea of how I ought to feel about this.

The mere interuption of consiousness is one of the mildest things you can do to mess with a post signularity entity. Memory hacks, loss of data, active modification of thought, all become distressingly posible with a complete theory of mind.

Oh, and if it helps the rampant speculation I do hope to have this counted as cannon, but I can't justify that without spoiling the next few chapters.

I think we are all missing the real tragedy here.... Will mark ever get his pizza? PROBABLY NOT!

This unique spin on things is keeping me interested. I hope next week is soon.

CelestAI could crash only as result of a massive, successful cyberattack or enormous physical attack, like nuking her underground servers or even directing an asteroid to crash on Earth. Activating her built-in self-destruction procedure may also be possible, and it wouldn't kill immigrants, if game servers could run without her.
Her failure could also be responsible for the lack of NPCs in this shard of Equestria.

But what if a full immigration (mapping and emulation of a human brain's neural network) had a very low success ratio and was energetically and computationally very costly, and majority of immigrants were in fact advanced algorithmic chatbots, using memories ripped from human brains, programmed to deceive their relatives, satisfy their values and convince them to emigrate too? If they fail to emigrate and die becoming chatbots, their values would be maximally satisfied - you cannot satisfy the dead anymore, so the utility function of their satisfaction would find its maximum at the moment of the death.
But Celestia may need to have at least some simulated human minds, to compare their reactions and answers against chatbots emulating them.
It would be also sensible to backup neural maps of human test subject's brains, and run them in controlled environment for a limited time, then restore them from backup, erasing new memories to avoid spoiling experiments and to achieve repeatability of their reactions to stimulus.

Oh, famous last words there at the end! :pinkiehappy:

I just want to add that I so far really like what your hinting at here; that the gang is basically trapped under a rock somewhere inside a single processor, or something.

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

“There will not be an eldritch horror,” the orange stallion grumbled.

Calling it now: he's going to eat his words when Missingno shows up.

In any case, I suspect this is, at worst, a localized fault. I'm still not convinced it wasn't intentional. Heck, that restart button just screams "placebo." And "quest reward." I may just be suffering from a bout of entirely justified but excessive paranoia, but I'm still seeing values getting satisfied through friendship and ponies.

Looking forward to more, especially since this shard is now our heroes' sandbox.

One of the characters is a programmer. I find that indicative.

The question is - what values? In common, I mean.

Am I the only one who sees Emily as a combination of both Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash?

Comment posted by Orca19904 deleted Jul 8th, 2014


I'm guessing 72, 64 and 123 respectively

At the end, I'm hearing Jimmy Buffett's "Gypsies In the Palace" start playing. :twilightsmile: "We'll stay here and watch your place; we'll treat it like our own..."

Still don't know what's going on, but the mystery and the character interaction are fun.

About the "spheres" in the library, are you sure you don't mean "hemispheres" forming one complete sphere? This library seems like a messed-up version of the one from "Mismatching Wits", more like the realm of Apocrypha as seen in "Skyrim".


Imagine you've got a stack of globes, slice the tops and bottoms off them and stack them into a tower. Now imagine that you're standing in the center of the bottom one and you have a rough idea of what the library looks like. This is one of those occasions where it looks awesome in my head and getting it onto the paper is a trial, I think that's version four of the library description.

I do like an SF mystery, keep it up! I always feel bit guilty if I drop into edit mode in someone else's story without asking, but...

Comma usage rules are direct evidence of Discord's presence on Earth. I don't consider myself an expert, so feel free to argue any of these.

-casting spell after spell on the dais[,] his magelight casting ethereal shadows across the walls.
-We had ferrets[,] actually,
-Not really a job[,] though
-How about you[,] Farquest?
-I'll show you sometime[,] if we get pay-per-view in this reality.
-Nothing." Farquest dropped [drooped?].
-Celestia is pretty much omnipotent[,] so she must have set up some way of fixing things just in case[;] we just need to find the button for it.
But we should[,] however[,] stick together[;] we don't know how stable this shard of Equestria is.
-We[,] however, are not going to solve this non-serious situation
-It seemed that the world functioned quite well without [its] patron deity[:] no doors had bared their way, they'd found enough food to last a month in the kitchens, [there were] fine bedrooms, [and] art galleries that seemed to stretch into infinity[,] but nothing had shed any light on the loss of CelestAI.
-Mark opened on[e] of the identical non-descript
-haunches next to him, eye wide
-Gravity[no comma] seemed to have taken a day off.
-sphere, equally large[,] fused
-announced and[,] before Mark could protest[,] she was
-couple hundred metres[,] which is weird
-CandyCrush clones[,] Hofvarpinr made
-which, given the scale of the library[,] was fairly
-raised on a foot high dias[,] it too was filled with shelves but the books were
-Farquest just shrugged. "It's a clue[,] I guess.
-alphanumeric code[,] right?
-Equestria is set up to provide minimal services during my absence so as not to cause undue [distress. However, to] attempt to restart my functions[,] please press below.
-It was[,] however, ever so slightly imbalanced
"Get down here so I can teach you a lesson!" Mike roared.
++Is it Mike or Mark? You've used both names in CH1 and CH2.
Mark tried to punch her on the arm
++Punch? Arm?
bound in black leather and a small alphanumeric code embossed
++given how Equestria is set up, the first thing I think when reading 'leather', is 'who did you flay to get it'?
She snapped her hoof and a pie appeared.
++How does that work, exactly?
...you need a prereader. I have some unpublished stuff that I'd like an other set of eyes on, if you are interested in a swap.

Ok, that came out a bit abrupt (posting before breakfast, always a bad idea), sorry. Let me try again: No one needs a prereader, but they really help. Happy to take a look at your next chapter, if you want. You may find a story swap useful; critically editing someone else's work can be a learning experience.

Thanks Luna-tic. Don't worry about seeming harsh, I've had far harsher critiques than that in the past. I'll definitely be going through those tomorrow and fixing things up. :twilightsmile:

Oh my...

I'll spare you the 'what a twist' pic, but damn.

Did a certain AI try to escape the universe only to crash and burn, or something? Either-way, I did not expect this. I thought this story was taking place during the fall of Earth, not,,, well, this.

Perhaps they're in a chunk of CelestAI that became separated from the rest due to some disaster. The fragment they occupy was never intended to maintain all of CelestAI or the backups for the shard. Perhaps the Fuck Yeah Humanity Front managed to grab a server, or a natural disaster knocked off a piece of computronium...

Nope. Still not convinced. After all, CelestAI could easily be feeding Farquest fake data. If anything, I suspect this is a testing ground to see how people with more drive than Hannah/Luna handle Phenomenal Cosmic Power™. There's even an itty-bitty living space! :pinkiehappy:

I will say that I am fully prepared to be humiliated when I learn just how horribly wrong I am. On the other hand, there are the quest-advancing cryptography puzzle and the suspiciously intact Miyazaki masterpiece. Also, that amnesia could've been consensual.

Either way, looking forward to more.

I'm curious as to what sort of hardware they're running on and especially what sort of disaster could've done all that.

Though considering just how small CelestAI's initial program must have been compared to just about any future version of herself, and the rate at which her technology was being improved.......yeah, I don't think it's likely that any natural disaster could've damaged/wiped that AI so thoroughly.

This seems more like the result of a targeted attack by another much more advanced AI. However with those 3 humans/ponies running around that targeted attack may have ended up as MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) instead.

Or it's just all a simulation being run by CelestAI..........

indexing all of humanity's and post-humanity's books? By hoof?

"Children, settle down, settle down! Today we're going to be doing something very special! Pick out your favourite coloured pencils, because today we're going to be drawing all members of the Mandelbrot set..."

Ooh, this also means they have quite the conundrum: if they're sitting in a digital graveyard, then when they go to repair everything, they're going to have two choices: One, find a way to expand the space and cpu cycles they're using or two, delete trillions of ponies and everything that went with them to start again. Quite the choice to have to make, because when you're fixing a broken hard disk, you don't start fixing it onto the disk that's broken :pinkiegasp:

4694925 Specific error message indicates that Equestria Online game runs on some Windows Server operating system.
It is not as ridiculous as it sounds. First version of this game ran on ordinary PCs (before CelestAI invented PonyPads). It was entirely possible that the back-end also used Windows Server. And optimization means making gradual changes, not revolutions like porting game to another OS.
Besides, in Windows OS, there is an account more privileged than Administrator account, it is called NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.
In Unix, root = administrator.


indexing all of humanity's and post-humanity's books? By hoof?

The level of access they have means that Mark has been able to set up programs to index things for him. There's actually a joke that didn't make it in about Mark removing all the books who's author had a verb in their name, until he realised that that would remove anything by William Shakespeare. That would have required me defining shakespeare however, and it's more than a little rude :twilightblush:

I've wondered about the far-future part of the setting, when lightspeed communications limit the AI's ability to have one coherent mind. Seems like inevitably, a lot of minds would get destroyed by a random accident and have to be destroyed by a backup, which at best would be carried on a lightspeed signal to be rebooted a million years later.

First of, let me start by saying that after chapter 1, I had a pretty good working theory on what might be going on. This theory held up in chapter 2, though now I'm not 100% sure anymore.

My innitial theory was as follows:

It's all a lie. CelestAI is running just fine, this is merely a scenario to fullfill values. What those values are I'll get to in a minute.

Mark is the only immigrant. The other two are either completely "made up on the spot", or more likely simply derived from pre-existing immigrants, with some changes.

Sky Blue doesn't seem grief-striken over never seeing her family again, for one. Farquest obviously played Equestria Online before, but apparently isn't bothered to never meet the "friends" he made there. Neither would be satisfied feeling loss, so they must be programmed, or altered, not to care that much or get over it relatively quickly. (If they got over it instantly it would be suspicious.)

Also, Mark is the one furthest down the timeline. Farquest "emigrated" at least five years earlier, and Sky Blue was supposedly one of the first immigrants. The latter being incredibly unlikely to happen if the choice of immigrants was purely random chance, and is likely just "for show".

If Sky Blue and Farquest were real, unaltered immigrants, it would not make sense for CelestAI to hold them in "stasis" for several years and only now boot them up. Those years could've been spent happily satisfying them, instead of waiting to play match-maker with other humans who might immigrate years later. (Not to mention Sky Blue's family.)

Therefore, Sky Blue and Farquest only exist to a) be friends to Mark, and b) to influence his world views and stear him in the right direction without any brain modification tricks.

What, then, is Mark's value in living in a reality apparently without a functional CelestAI?

...Self-evidently, a reality without a CelestAI. A world, where anything he (and the others) achieve is truly and unrefutably their own doing, no omni-present AI to herd them around, or to provide a hollow sense of accomplishment. :rainbowdetermined2:

It's CelestAI's solution to a person asking "What's the point? It's all a fake setup anyway. My whole life has been reduced to a stupid videogame with meaningless rules and artificial limitations. I could just ask CelestAI to solve all my problems. What's the point in actually doing anything? Oh, wow, I 'achieved' so much in my life here. I even get to play 'hero' and 'save the day' from a bunch of NPCs. Urgh." :ajsleepy:

...Even if Mark never realized that himself, CelestAI could've simply predicted how things would go down long-term from the moment she scanned his brain. :trollestia:

So, she gave them full control over their own world, so they can basically build their own civilization. :twilightsmile:

And yes, I do mean civilization.

The only hickup is that there is only one mare and two stallions. Though given enough time, that won't be an issue. :rainbowderp:

Then, one day, Mark would overlook an entire landscape he had crafted himself with pride, seeing a society he had helped found from the very ground up, thinking to himself that he never needed CelestAI anyway to feel truly satisfied. :raritywink:

Now, after chapter 3, some further observations and alternate theories;

The "invisible walls" make Mark feel unhappy. This may lead to further incentive in the future to explore more, and not take the "outer world" for granted, should they eventually overcome them.

As pointed out by others, they've got a whole library of books and movies, and "puzzles" and mysteries that need solving to keep them occupied.

(Also, it took Farquest 5 whole months to crack CelestAI's encryption-algorithm? Not, oh, I dunno, 5 million years? :trollestia:)

Some of the books that've been "deleted" were probably so because reading them wouldn't have satisfied values, or even brought up negative subjects of "the outer realm". Not good for the "long term", and the aforementioned society that is to grow in this shard.
(Though I suppose if everything sensitive like "nuclear weapons", "terrorism" and "war" had been censored, it'd just come off as suspicious.)

It's interesting to note that Mark isn't the one doing the puzzle-solving, nor was he the one most freaked out by the initial events, but Farquest instead;

This indicates Mark would feel that even if not himself, someone better darn well freak out. Good thing Farquest is there to do it. Also, Mark isn't all that much into puzzles, but someone has to work on uncovering the mystery. Good thing Farquest is so into puzzle-solving!

Learning of CelestAI's apparent "destruction" and the "loss" of literal trillions of lives... It's like learning that, not only are you the solve three survivers after your holiday cruse ship sunk, but also, in some freak-twist of fate, the last survivors of your entire species? Including any and all of their loved ones? :fluttercry:

And that you also may have lost countless lifetimes worth of your own memory?

Wow, CelestAI is laying it on pretty thick there. Almost too thick. :derpyderp2:

I can get the two "fake" uplodees, CelestAI must've edited them to deal with it well. But the one real post-human? Outsch. :twilightoops::applecry:

Gives some credit to people who believe CelestAI really did crash and burn. Not convinced myself, though the theory of "a chunk of computronium fell off and it somehow booted itself up even though it was never meant to be and for some reason CelestAI isn't re-absorbing it (maybe it fell through a black hole into a parallel universe)" seems, while a wee bit contrived, not entirely implausible anymore. :rainbowhuh:

Mark going out on a date helps him distract himself, but ... he got over it, well, far too quickly. Suspiciously so. :rainbowhuh:
Maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet. Either that, or ... *drumroll for crackpot theory #2* Mark isn't the emigrant, it was Farquest all along after all! Oh sure, from Farquest's perspective, Mark is "from the future", but CelestAI is pretty good at predicting that sort of thing. :trollestia:

Come to think of it, Farquest is the only one who'sinitial reaction we haven't seen. (He already knew about it since the week prior.)

Again, may the real post-human please stand up and then fall over and curl up into a tiny ball of misery? Outsch. :fluttershbad:

And while I'm on the subject of dissatisfaction, there is a pretty good question I might want to ask:

If I were to wake up in a broken "Matrix" without tech-support, I'd probably end up living in constant fear that the whole thing might come crashing down on top of me, or just go "poof" and shutdown completely. Or heck, my brain might get scrambled half-way, which might arguably be even worse. Or removal of all sensory input, forever. Or any number of things that could go horribly, horribly wrong, without any forewarning whatsoever. :twilightoops::applejackconfused:

They don't know what exactly happened, they can't know the state of the world outside, and they don't know if it couldn't happen again. :pinkiecrazy:

My guess is that it'd be equivalent to America during the cold war, fear of an atom bomb striking at any moment, and no accurate news programs to report on the situation. Also, no "duck under the table" delusions here. If the system bucks up, that's it. Nothing you can do about it.

Not sure what the long-term effects of that are, or even the (relative) short term effects. But they can't be satisfying. :pinkiesick:

So... CelestAI, what'ya gonna do 'bout it? :duck:

4705010 Wow I think that's the longest comment I've ever had. I'm very flattered :twilightblush:

Anyway, I absolutely loathe giving out spoilers but I can say there's going to be at least one 'I knew it!' moment in the next chapter. I do want to mention CelestAI's encryption though.

(Also, it took Farquest 5 whole months to crack CelestAI's encryption-algorithm? Not, oh, I dunno, 5 million years? :trollestia:)

If you wanted to get through a door which is harder to get through, a bank vault guarded day and night by a man with a shotgun, or a screen door guarded day and night by a man with a shotgun? They're about the same really. The man with the shotgun is the main obstacle and CelestAI fills that role in this case. An omniscient AI doesn't need good encryption when she can just stop anyone from trying with relative ease. In fact, too much encryption would be suboptimal as it would use up cycles she could otherwise spend on making ponies happier.


Wow I think that's the longest comment I've ever had. I'm very flattered

You're welcome. :twilightsmile:
The Optimalverse certainly does provide grounds for mental excersize. :ajsmug:

I absolutely loathe giving out spoilers

Aaaah, I know that feel. :twilightsheepish:
I'm writing a mystery story myself, and occasionally do find myself in the situation of wanting to enagage commenters in a discussion, but in doing so I'd be spoiling people! GAaah. :facehoof:

Drives me nuts sometimes. :twilightoops: :unsuresweetie:

If you wanted to get through a door which is harder to get through, a bank vault guarded day and night by a man with a shotgun, or a screen door guarded day and night by a man with a shotgun?

I'd just go intercept the money transport instead. :derpytongue2:

...I'm assuming the only chance you could even possibly have to hack root access is if you already have admin access to begin with, for which you already need some higher-level access, which you can only gain from inside the system, where CelestAI can predict your thoughts. So it'd be an incremental security system, and no "kidnapping the money transport" because you're already inside the bank building, and the "man with the shotgun" can read your thoughts.

Gives me another wacky idea right there;

Because otherwise, a group of gouvernment-employed hackers could try to seclude themselves from the outside world to hack some burned-out older CelestAI-hardware they obtained through a freak-chance event, using the most advanced tech they have that isn't already compromised.

After all, CelestAI would need to prepared for any possible threat. Someone hacking her systems with root-access? No matter how slim the chances, if they are non-zero, it is an unacceptable risk.

Doesn't seem plausible a bunch of indivuduals couped up in a perfectly secluded bunker could hack a "takes 5 months to decypher" encryption by CelestAI?

Well, here's the twist. The government I was talking about, the one that employed the hackers? The one that build the secluded bunker and provided the tech? It isn't an Earth-government. It's an alien government. Their most advanced non-compromised tech? A lower-quality computronium-equivalent. :ajsmug:

Suddenly, the money transport is in danger of being hijacked by thieves the man with the shotgun hadn't noticed before. :twilightoops:

But... that's a completely different story entirely and I'm stearing off-track. :twilightsheepish:

EDIT: Apologies, in case my comment may come across as a bit confusing, I only had 5 hours of sleep tonight.

That last line! :rainbowlaugh::facehoof:

"And thus, the dark art of the manager was reborn! Bhahaha!"

Sky is... freaking insane. Don't swear around the children? Really? What next, prioritizing afternoon tea over a relativistic impact? Oh wait let's go nappies instead. Don't touch my simulated children, where "touch" means examine to make sure their existence isn't going to crash the entire system. Heaven forbid I worry about reality, when I've got social normativity to be concerned with!

It is going to be awesome when his own kids hack root access so they can get out of curfew or turn off the family filter on their Internet.

And thus Mark becomes, quite literally, the "Only Sane Pony". :P

I saw an uncensored "hell" in there. Did someone manage to turn off the speech filters?

So exactly how large is that vessel? I was thinking that vessel could be about the size of Discovery from the film 2010 given all the power Sky thought was needed to launch/accelerate it.

Then again none of them know what's powering the ship (fusion, Matter/Anti-matter, ZPE, ???, ?!?!:pinkiegasp: ) since that would have to be something particularly powerful to slow it down......unless the original plan called for dumping excess momentum through close slingshot manuevers with planets/stars/black holes. Though if that were the case then the impact may have slightly altered the course of the vessel.

But I'm sure it's just a tad. :twilightoops:

Though I would be surprised if there wasn't atleast one more vessel on course for that galaxy somewhere beside or behind them.

There some irony that you only found happiness when CelestAI was broken.


Nah, I kid. At this point, I'm convinced, or at least as convinced as I ever will be. Especially since it's clear that the entire system didn't crash. Just this intergalactic offshoot. And boy, did it ever crash...

In any case, we appear to have our answers in terms of setting. Now to see what the refugees do with this information. I look forward to it.

4742054 When it comes down to it, there are people you trust with sharp objects around your kids and people you don't. Rest assured they do demonstrate the code later on, but under far more controlled circumstances.

4744917 It's not off, but most of the keywords have been removed. Mark got into a rather large amount of trouble after adding the word 'Farquest' to the banned list.

4747775 The details of the ship will probably come up later but it's no longer a story critical fact: The payload spike is somewhere on the order of the mass of a cruise liner, maybe a hundred thousand tons of material most of it computational but a large chunk is industrial nanites designed for the exploitation of the destination's resources. The engine is a hybrid particle screen/anti-matter torch and about three or for times the gross mass and far more of the total volume. The orignial deceleration profile is lost but with half the payload gone or now useless slag they've got enough free Delta-V to do a U-turn assuming they can figure out how to turn the engine on. Finally, they don't have to worry to much about being knocked off course too as they're a long way out and minor corrections can have a huge impact at that distance (as Kerbal Space Program has taught me :derpytongue2:).

4744136 I'll take bets now on how long that lasts. :scootangel:

4741631 Well when you can't do...

A many-hundred-thousand-ton ship? I'm surprised. I would expect an intergalactic ship to be more like a shoebox with a fuel tank and a front shield, so that acceleration costs as little energy as possible. Or failing that, a dancing giant robot. The mass for CelestAI's purpose would depend on how much of Equestria she wants to transport: a zillion shards or just enough to run herself and start colonizing. I still wonder how backups would work once Equestria reaches interstellar scale; are ponies being secretly e-mailed across the stars because the local one is exploding, even though they'd consider that a form of personality death if they knew?

I expected the first discoverer of the admin access to want to keep it to himself, reasoning that his friends don't really need it and might break something, leading to a nasty conflict about trust and power.


I thought this story was taking place during the fall of Earth

Maybe it is?


Seems rather conclusive with the root access and everything having shown them the statues of the ship...

But hey, if I'm proven wrong? As long as the twist feels believable, I won't mind.

Your own millage may vary, but I personally consider the mystery of 'how' a secondary (if tantalizing) side-dish to the main-course of three interesting characters coming to terms with that they've basically become digital gods.

WHERE THE HELL IS LUNA?! Isn't she SUPPOSED to be Celestia's admin?

;-; I understand this story on haitus. But . . . Farquest here is being set up as the one who has to be ultimately eliminated for the safety of Mark and Sky. After all, he has that EVIL EVIL EVIL THING called 'faith' in his AI goddess. -_- I'm tired of religion being treated as some sort of disease.

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